After taking first place in the middle school division at the Southern California State Science Olympiad Tournament last month, IUSD’s Jeffrey Trail Middle School Science Olympiad team became the first-ever Orange County middle school and first IUSD school to compete at nationals. The Jeffrey Trail team placed ninth overall in the nation during the national tournament held at Colorado State University on May 18 and 19.
One of the nation’s most prestigious science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions, Science Olympiad brings together 120 winning middle school and high school teams advancing from state-level competitions this past spring. Rigorous hands-on and lab events, led by experts from government agencies, top universities, industry and Science Olympiad state chapters, cover topics in engineering, physics, epidemiology, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology and coding.
“Our victory at the state tournament and our strong performance at nationals validates our value system at Jeffrey Trail,” said Jeffrey Trail Science Olympiad Coach and Science Teacher Todd Muñoz. “We believe that through hard work and dedication, and the proper support, our students can accomplish great things.”
According to Muñoz, at the Middle School level, Science Olympiad functions much like a football or soccer team, requiring preparation, commitment, coaching and practice throughout the year. Each school-based team is allowed to bring 15 students who cross-train for a variety of events in their skill set. Jeffrey Trail has more than 45 members, allowing for an apprentice and mentoring system.
Some events challenge students to learn content and demonstrate it through traditional tests. Others challenge students to design and build objects — like hovercrafts or towers — that are tested on the day of competition.
“By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved,” said Muñoz. “Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders bond together and work toward a shared goal.”
The winning state and national Jeffrey Trail team members are:
- Sabreen Alam - 8th grade
- Andrew Chen - 8th grade
- Anjal Jain - 8th grade
- Rishauv Kar-Roy - 8th grade
- David Kim - 7th grade
- Matthew Kim - 8th grade
- Elena Kim - 8th grade
- Natasha Le - 8th grade
- Chloe Lim - 8th grade
- Robert Ni - 8th grade
- Hassan Samiullah - 8th grade
- Grace Shao - 8th grade
- Roy Shyu - 8th grade
- Shreya Thimmareddy - 8th grade
- Arvin Zhang - 8th grade
Only one team per division qualifies for the national tournament. For more information on Science Olympiad programs, visit soinc.org.